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Last updated 2-6-2024
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Yency Almonte
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Cubs Allegedly Consumate a Trade

I'm on vacation this week, so no blog-a-palooza from me at the trade deadline. That being said, word is that Reed Johnson has been traded. No word on the team as of yet, but Levine says 4 teams made their best offer today including the Pirates and Tigers.

Update: No time for linkage, but Cubs get 24-year-old RHP Jake Brigham from the Texas Rangers for Geovany Soto(meh). From the Atlanta Braves they get pitchers Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman(Vizcaino could be very good in a few years, but currently is out after TJ surgery).

Rosenthal rumors that Reds are in on Matt Garza.

Soriano apparently said no to any ideas of trading him to the San Francisco Giants.

Plenty of good info in the comments, so read on.


Twitterverse playing 20 questions so far of all the teams not gettIng Soto or Johnson. So far no on pirates, giants and dodgers for reed. No on mets for soto.

brigham...from Nov 2011 article when he was added to TEX 40-man Jake Brigham, RHP – Raw stuff has never been Brigham’s issue, as his arm remains one of the best in the system. The 23-year-old had an inconsistent Double-A debut campaign but appeared to settle into the full-time bullpen role during the second half. He posted a 2.35 ERA while fanning 45 in his final 38.1 innings. As a reliever, Brigham’s fastball sat at 93-97 mph, and both his power curveball and upper-80s slider flashed plus. He may not be a finished product, but his late-innings ceiling gives him a good case for addition. fwiw, he's being used as a starter in AA this year so far.

cransick Cubs are getting two minor league pitchers in Maholm-Johnson deal, source says. Not in the Minor-Delgado-Teheran-Gilmartin group.

in case people need reminding... vizcaino is out having his elbow put back together, but is expected back in 2013. great curveball and a high 90s+ fastball.

Arodys Vizcaino's 2nd trade: July 2, 2007: Signed by the New York Yankees as an amateur free agent. December 22, 2009: Traded by the New York Yankees with Melky Cabrera, Mike Dunn and cash to the Atlanta Braves for Boone Logan and Javier Vazquez.

a cool quote from Braves GM, Frank Wren, in the above Vizcaino article (from last march): “There are guys that have ligaments that don’t look good on MRI and they play their whole career,” Wren said. “Greg Maddux’s ligament, from what I’ve been told, was one of the worst looking ligaments they’ve ever seen. But he continued to pitch and it never really became a problem. And that was when he first signed with the Braves.”

this is in the twitter feed and i don't get it... "jcrasnick Chapman is a back-end-of-the bullpen guy. Throws low 90s, and has a plus changeup. #cubs #braves" yeah, he has a change...and it's closer than any other offspeed pitch he's got (including a slider)...except his curve, which is pretty impressive. also, he's a low 90s guy when he's starting, but he's more than capable of repeating a 95-100mph fastball when he was throwing relief for ATL. he may be a back-end pen guy, but he'll most likely be throwing harder than low-90s when doing it if he's not expected to throw 5+ip. he'll also be showing his curve more than his change.

Have to ask CUBSTER prognosis for the surgery Vizcaino had. --- It was classic Tommy John Ulnar Collateral Ligament surgery and it was done by Dr. James Andrews on March 20th this spring. So what's not to like. He should be available next spring although they might bring him on slowly from that point.

wow...a.huff (SF) out of the game. he's barely off the DL. how much more career does he have left? it's like watching b.bonds play his last couple of seasons.

I like what I'm hearing about the returns. Am I crazy to think that considering it wasn't for Dempster and we can still move him, this may beat the Demp for Delgado trade that didn't happen?

Brad Lincoln for Travis Snider trade is an interesting swap of two mostly-failed 2006 1st-round picks taken just before (Lincoln) and after (Snider) the Cubs' own failed pick in that draft (Tyler Colvin), whom they moved for another failed 1st-round pick in Ian Stewart. I guess the moral of the story is that GMs just can't resist the name recognition associated with "former 1st round draft pick," regardless of whether the player has turned out to be an absolute bust. To whom can Theo pawn off Casey Weathers and Hayden Simpson?

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

It gets worse. Cubs are sending TX money to take Soto off our hands to boot. WTF, Soto has really fallen down sure, but he's still a ML catcher, and those are hard to come by. How could Theo not get something better than Jake Brigham? Seriously?? Granted, it could be that Jedstein had already concluded they would non-tender Soto this winter, but even so....disappointing trade to say the least when compared to the Maholm + Reed deal.

Paul Maholm is owed about $1.6M for the balance of 2012, plus $6.5M or $500K buy-out (club option) in 2013. He also gets a $50K bonus if he pitches 150 IP, and an additional $100K bonus (each) at 160, 170, 180, 190, & 200 IP, for a total potential performance bonus of $550K in 2012. (This bonus will also be available to him in 2013 if his contract is not terminated by club option post-2012). Unless The Cubs agree to pay part of it, the Braves would be responsible for any perforamance bonus Maholm may attain in 2012 and/or 2013, even though most of his IP were with the Cubs in 2012. However, it is VERY likely that Cubs and Braves would agree to split any performance bonus(es) Maholm may earn based upon the percentage of innings thrown while with the Cubs versus the percentage thrown while a member of the Braves. EXAMPLE: Maholm presently has thrown 120.1 IP, so another 29.2 IP and he gets $50K. Since he would have thrown about 80% of those innings while a member of the Cubs and only about 20% while a member of the Braves, the Cubs might have agreed (in advance) to pay $40K (80%) of the $50K performance bonus Maholm earns if he reaches 150 IP, and then the Cubs might have agreed to pay 75% ($75K) of the $100K bonus Maholm gets if he reaches 160 IP, $70K (70%) of the $100K bonus if he reaches 170 IP, etc. Reed Johnson is owed about $350K for the balance of 2012. So Maholm and Johnson (combined) are still owed about $1.95M in 2012 salaries, plus Maholm's potential performance bonuses (still TBD). The $1.95M in 2012 payroll saved by trading Maholm and Johnson would be offset by the Cubs needing to replace Maholm and Johnson on the 25-man roster with players making at least the pro-rated MLB minimum salary, so the Cubs will have to add about $350K for those two players (TBD), plus the pro-rated portion of Arodys Vizcaino's 2012 salary (about $160K), for a total of about $510K, and therefore a total payroll savings of about $1.44M (not counting Maholm's peformance bonus). Again, that's presuming the Cubs are not paying any part of Maholm's and/or Johnson's remaining 2012 salary or Maholm's performance bonus(es). Geovany Soto is still owed about $1.4M in salary, and the Cubs wil have to replace him on the 25-man roster with a player (presumably Welington Castillo) who is making at least the pro-rated MLB minimum salary (about $175K), for a savings of about 1.25M in 2012 payroll. Soto will be eligible for salary arbitration post-2012 and will be eligible to be an Article XX-B MLB FA post-2013 (if he isn't non-tendered on 12/2). However, it is already being reported that the Cubs will be sending the Rangers money to cover some or all of Soto's remaining salary (or at least what is left of Soto's salary minus the $175K they will be paying his replacement on the 25-man roster), so it is still TBD how much (if any) 2012 payroll the Cubs will save in the Soto deal.

Jake Brigham will likely move from AA Frisco in the Texas League to AA Tennessee in the Southern League and join the Smokies starting rotation. Jaye Chapman could very well join the Cubs bullpen immediately (he was the primary closer at AAA Gwinnett, but he would probably be a middle reliever at the big league level). And Arodys Vizcaino goes from the Atlanta Braves 15-day DL to the Cubs 15-day DL. Even if Chapman is brought up to Chicago, that still means there will be a couple of openings on the Cubs MLB 25-man roster. Obviously Welington Castillo will be recalled to replace Soto, and it is already being reported that Casey Coleman and Brett Jackson might be en route to Chicago to replace Maholm and Johnson. If so, then Chapman could replace either Matt Garza (who will probably be placed on the DL on Tuesday) or Jeff Beliveau (who may have pitched his way back to AAA Iowa Monday night).

OK, CRUNCH, is it too soon to start suggesting FA to fill in the mix left open...For instance, a LSP to take PMaholm's place?? Go for it...

Hey nice trades and if Cincy wants Garza we want Billy Hamilton. And I am miffed at Soriano blocking a trade. What is it with these guys? Is losing fun in Chicago where they don't want to go to contenders? Are they making so much money that winning doesn't matter? Man i want players hungry for a championship, not a pay check.

Here is BP's/Kevin Goldstein's writeup on Brigham:
While hardly a top prospect, the Cubs got a surprisingly solid arm in return for Soto. A sixth-round pick in 2006 out of a Florida high school, Brigham has been slow to develop in a career that includes a 2008 Tommy John surgery. Repeating Double-A this year, Brigham has better peripherals than his 4.28 ERA suggests, giving up less than a hit per inning with 116 strikeouts and 46 walks in 124 innings. He has a solid fastball that ranges from 91-95 mph, but he can get loose with the pitch up in the zone and gives up too many home runs as a result. His primary secondary pitch is a low-80s slider that rates as average, and while he has a changeup, it's a below-average pitch. He projects as an innings-eating no. 4 or 5 starter or a solid middle reliever. He looks like a big leaguer, just not an impact one.

[ ]

In reply to by Cubster

Goldstein paints Brigham well enough here to be a down-the-road serviceable player, which is conceivably the best we could expect for Soto given his pending non-tender (although hitting in Arlington may earn him another $4M). Still, I don't see this guy in an MLB rotation, and 7th-inning setup guy is probably the absolute ceiling. As a 24-year-old in AA, he's putting up the minimum numbers he needed to have to not get released.

[ ]

In reply to by Old and Blue

Soto is still better than Clevenger...Castillo...Lalli...Steve Lake....Rick Wrona...whoever the hell the Cubs have? I'm rooting for Castillo to finally get an extended shot. I sure hope Cub fans are ready for some sucking though. Right now 1B, 2B,SS are solid. CF is ok, and Soriano is having a good year in LF. Catcher, RF, 3B, and 3 starting pitching slots? Not so much...

[ ]

In reply to by The E-Man

Soto's "D" is better than Clevenger's, and while Castillo's arm is outstanding..his pitch calling, and catching the pitches thrown leaves something to be desired to say the least. Soto's 27% CS rate isn't real good...but much, much better than Clevenger's. He'll take some walks, and hit an occasional HR. If the Cubs bring up Castillo, and give him the majority of starts, I get it. If not....well WTF? Lol.

[ ]

In reply to by Ryno

I agree Ryno. I liked Soto. I thought he did a nice job behind the plate-especially at framing pitches. His bat was starting to come around. I think he'll play more to his career averages-.250 hitter, decent on base and a little pop. I do think he needs more rest than a guy his age would suggest but put in the situation where his bat won't be counted on-I think he'll contribute.

and Chapman:
A 16th-round pick in 2005, Chapman is an undersized right-hander who is in his seventh minor league season while being developed solely as a reliever. He has an average fastball that sits at 89-92 mph and a fringy breaking ball, but he has a true plus changeup that he uses as an outpitch. Already 25 years old and lacking anything in the way of projection, his best chance is as an up-and-down reliever

and Vizcaino:
Despite being just six feet tall, Vizcaino has a lightening quick arm and sat at 96 mph in short stints while touching 98. His power curveball sits in the low-80s, features heavy late break, and gives him a second outpitch that he'll use at any point in the count. He has a rarely used below-average changeup, and the effort in his delivery creates some command issues. Originally developed as a starter, Vizcaino had a history of arm problems before the surgery and has never thrown more than 120 innings in a season. Now an undersized pitcher with an injury history and far from a pretty delivery, everything points to Vizcaino becoming a permanent reliever, but if his stuff comes all the way back, he's potentially closer-worthy.

I would be alright with Gould and Lindblom from the Dodgers if they take Sori with Dempster and pay the majority of Sori's contract. They are constantly gabbing that cash is not a problem. I know they Say they won't offer Lee, Webster or Reed . . . but I think Garret Gould must be a possibility?

[ ]

In reply to by Ryno

You never know, really. TheoCorp is stockpiling arms, and they're not done yet. It's a good strategy. Get as many as you can, hope one or two stick. Maybe we'll get lucky and see one shoot up the system faster than expected. I didn't see Germano last night, but his line was not too bad. I'm not suggesting Justin Germano is the solution or even part of it. But grabbing a bunch of guys like that is a good way to find some gold. Like Carlito says, this sure beats watching a bunch of journeymen (I switched out free agents for journeymen). I like Johnson a lot as a player in almost every way. He would have been a tremendous guy to have if the Cubs were a contender. But he's just blocking people on a team like the Cubs.

[ ]

In reply to by Old and Blue

"I'd rather see a youth movement." So would I, but young guys aren't usually called up to sit on the bench. That's a job for older players like Johnson, who had his shot at being a starter and then dropped down to a substitute role. Campana originally came up to start in center after Byrd's beaning. The Cubs probably don't like Campana's situation right now, since he's not going to learn to hit like a major leaguer on the bench. I'm not positive, but I think Mather was supposed to compete with Soriano for starts in left. He just didn't hit. But he's 29, so not exactly a youth movement, either. Sappelt is still too young (25) to die on the bench. The purpose of his existence now is to have a breakout year in the minors.

thoughts: 1.) didn't yesterday seem like a watershed day for Castro? I feel like his defense and power are finally meeting up with his uncanny ability to put the bat on the ball (clearly working on patience at plate too). He's damn exciting. 2.) so glad we didn't trade Barney (yet?), I like him at 2B a ton. 3.) anyone think Marmol goes today?

Also I think it is conceivable that Soriano goes to Yankees *if* Texiera MRI is bad today, and Soriano doesnt mind heading back to Yanks. His numbers are comparable to Texiera and with DH (and a 1B injured) they would find a way to get him in lineup: Like swisher to 1B and Soriano at DH, etc.

What the Cubs overall hitting line is since Rudy left

When was the last time we completed a deal with another team where someone paid to review deals (here Keith Law) said: "Atlanta gets marginally better for this year with the additions of Maholm and Johnson, but the Cubs land the best prospect they're likely to obtain in this year's trade market in exchange for two players they didn't need....The price for Atlanta, however, was too high." I really didn't expect anything of note for Maholm and Johnson, so I am ecstatic. And truly just want Dempster traded for anything (he does nothing for us for 2012....and Soriano going as well would be awesome) and hope we can find someone willing to give value for Garza.

Brett Jackson flew out to end the top of the 6th last night. Rusin pitched the bottom of the inning but was touched for a 3-run homer that made the score 5-1. Cabrera relieved Rusin with two out. Cabrera would have been fourth in the order next inning, so the manager double-switched, bringing Tolbert in to replace Rusin, while Cabrera would bat in Jackson's spot. This maneuvering based on how recently Jackson batted and how soon the pitcher would bat and, of course, on the inning and the score--this doesn't look like a case of removing a player because of a phone call from Chicago.

A bit OT, but does anyone know when the Cubs CSN/WGN contracts are up? As we all know, a Golden Goose will hopefully appear when they expire. It sure has for numerous MLB contenders recently.

[ ]

In reply to by Cubster

The below brings back priceless memories: During the disgusting 7th and 8th innings, the walkmasters paraded their stuff including walk(s) from Cotts, Patton, Fox and Heilman. I was suffering along with Ron Santo who said on the radio: "anytime you have 7 walks you don't deserve to win." Six of the nine walks the Cubs pitchers gave up came from the bullpen. I believe we have at least better quality on the mound now than the above.

Victorino to Dodgers for minor league starter Ethan Martin and reliever Josh Lindblom. So much for Dodgers pitching depth outside of their taboo top 3.

Recent comments

  • crunch (view)

    cease has a 8m deal and 2 years of club control.  he wouldn't be cheap.

    dunno if the rumored talent given up is worth it, but if the wsox want a return on cease there's no time like now considering the very low 2024 price tag.

    the cheap price incentive for a full year vs. mid-season addition seems like a wash in potential return.

    wicks could immediately slot in as a starter on most teams.  also, the cubs already have a couple of solid lefty starters slotted in for at least the next 4 years.

  • Childersb3 (view)

    Mully and Haugh Chicago Radio says that folks within Cubs front office now believe a Belli ddeal will get done. Also, White Sox wanted to see Wicks, Mervis and Vazquez today for a possible Cease deal. 

    That can't be real. But, the Sox have been overpricing Cease.

  • Arizona Phil (view)

    Most of you have probably seen the game, but for anyone who might have missed it here are the Cubs pitcher reports from Friday's Cubs - White Sox game at Sloan Park... 

    FB: 91-93 
    CT: 88-90 
    SL: 80-81 
    CH: 78-83 
    COMMENT: Threw 1.2 IP (40 pitches - 23 strikes - six swing & miss) and mixed-up his pitches well... FB velo went down a tick in his second inning of work... looked a bit fatigued in second inning... allowed two hits and no walks and struck out one... gave up an oppo-field line drive solo HR to a AA RH hitter on a 92 MPH FB... should have easily finished off second inning but made careless error on weak tap in front of mound on his 24th pitch of the inning with catcher running and then made another error trying to grip the ball to make a throw to 1st (only one error was charged of course)... he just looked gassed as he walked off the field...  

    FB: 95-98 
    CH: 87-88 
    SL: 81 
    COMMENT: Faced one batter (strikeout looking) to finish second inning... 8 pitches (5 strikes - no swing & miss)... showed high velo FB but couldn't command secondaries... has had shoulder issues off & on in minors... throws with infielder-type short-arm motion "out of his ear" (he was a two-way player -- 3B/RHP -- in college)...
    FB: 96-99
    CH: 84-86
    SL: 81-82 
    COMMENT: Threw two very efficient innings... dominant outing... needed only 24 pitches (16 strikes - six swing & miss)... 6 up / 6 down (K-swing on 98 FB, 4-3 GO on 98 FB, 5-3 GO on SL, 6-3 GO on 97 FB,  K-swing on 99 FB, and F-8 on SL)... held high FB velo in both innings (he was consistently sitting on 98 in both innings and he hit 99 once in each inning) and looked like he could have gone longer...  

    FB: 89-92
    SL: 81-84 
    COMMENT: Your run of the mill generic FB/SL lefty reliever... had an easy 13-pitch (8 strikes) 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts (both swinging) on low 90's FB and a weak pop fly to CF...  

    FB: 92-94 
    SL: 81-83 
    COMMENT: Threw a scoreless inning (20 pitches - 15 strikes - four swing & miss, two on FB and two on SL)... although he did strike out two -- both swinging -- and threw 75% strikes, he had some difficulty putting hitters away (eight foul balls among his 20 pitches)... allowed an infield single that probably would have been a 6-3 GO if an MLB player was playing SS (Jefferson Rojas did not play the ball aggressively and he was a half-step too late with his "casual" throw to 1st base)... 

    FB: 84-85 
    CH: 82 
    CV: 70-73 
    COMMENT: Soft-tossing lefty who throws a LOT of mid-80's cutters and a very slow CV... 13-pitch (10 strike) 1-2-3 inning with one K (looking) on a cutter... got three swing & miss, all on cutters...  

    FB: 92-95 
    SL: 85 
    CV: 78-79 
    COMMENT: Threw an 11-pitch (8 strikes - two swing & miss) 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts (both looking)... broke three bats and induced some weak contact foul balls and a pathetic "mushy" pop fly(?) infield out that wasn't exactly a line drive and wasn't exactly a pop up either...    

    FB: 94-95 
    CT: 90-92 
    SL: 82-85 
    COMMENT: Threw a 21-pitch scoreless inning to finish off the game... surrendered a walk and a single but also induced a game-ending 6-4-3 DP... one strikeout (swinging) and that was his only swing & miss... he looked a bit uncomfortable on the mound (he seemed kind of hyper while warming up in the pen, too) and had major command issues with FB (threw only 8 strikes out of his 17 FB and went to ball three count on three of the four hitters he faced)... he would appear to be nowhere near ready for MLB and maybe not ready for AAA (yet) either...  

  • crunch (view)

    "is there anything new on cody bellinger since we started the interview?" - boog

    "sorry, i think we're going into a (commercial) break." - carter hawkins

    ...and laughs

  • crunch (view)

    only 2 "pitchcom broke, yo" delays in the game so far...

  • crunch (view)

    kilian out here throwing 98mph in february.

  • Childersb3 (view)

    While we're all speaking about Morel's 3B defense being good enough, his swing has gotten better.

    You could see it a little last fall. He didn't drop his hands behind his body as much (barred arm). But in videos from his Winter ball and this Feb in AZ you can tell he's keeping his hands tighter to his body. He's just stronger and able to have a tighter swing now. He'll be even quicker to the ball this way.

    Fun times.  

  • Cubster (view)

    Cubs vs Sox.

    Dodgers hold my beer. 6 run first including Morel 2 run HR.

  • crunch (view)

    PCA has blue hair...with a buzz cut...odd combo.  he's 2 dozen face tattoos away from being a mumble rapper.

  • crunch (view)

    these uniforms are hot garbage.  everything Fanatics touches turns to...well, hot garbage.